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Brexit appeal: UK top court to hear case in December

A high court ruled last week that Prime Minister Theresa May's government alone cannot trigger Article 50 of Lisbon treaty, which begins Britain's exit negotiations from the European Union (EU). Photograph: (AFP)

London, United Kingdom Nov 08, 2016, 09.20 PM (IST)

Britain's top court has set four days starting December 5 for the government's appeal against a ruling that requires the parliament's approval to trigger the Brexit process.

A court statement said that 11 Supreme Court judges will hear the case and deliver their judgement "probably in the New Year", AFP reported.

A high court ruled last week that Prime Minister Theresa May's government alone cannot trigger Article 50 of Lisbon treaty, which begins Britain's exit from the European Union (EU).

The Conservative government is appealing against the ruling that could delay Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

The judgement prompted outrage among people and the justice minister was forced to issue a statement defending the independence of the judiciary.

On Friday, May asserted in phone calls to EU leaders that the Brexit process will go ahead as planned regardless of the court's decision.

"This timetable remains consistent with our aim to trigger Article 50 by the end of March next year," Brexit minister David Davis said on Monday.

"We won't achieve a good negotiation outcome if this is a negotiation being run by 650 people in this House of Commons or nearly 900 in the Lords," Davis repeated the government's refusal to set out its strategy to MPs in advance, saying it would "wreck the negotiation".

"Indeed, if parliament insists on setting out a detailed minimum negotiating position, that will quickly become the maximum possible offer from the negotiating partners."

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has stressed on Scotland Parliament's consent in triggering Article 50. She said that her government will join to seek the court case to secure a vote for the Scottish parliament.

"Let me be clear -- I recognise and respect the right of England and Wales to leave the European Union. This is not an attempt to veto that process," Sturgeon told reporters. "But the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland and the national parliament of Scotland cannot be brushed aside as if they do not matter."

Scotland had voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU bloc in the June 23 referendum.

The Supreme Court noted that length of next month's hearing "will depend on further submissions received from the parties on the precise legal arguments to be considered, the number of interveners and whether any other related cases are joined to this one".

(With inputs from AFP)

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